Google, Meta and other major online platforms will have to do more to fight illegal content or face the prospect of heavy fines under new internet rules agreed on Saturday between EU countries and lawmakers.
The agreement came after more than 16 hours of negotiations. The Digital Services Act (DSA) is the second step in EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s strategy to gain control of Google, Meta and other US tech giants.
Last month, it won support from the 27-nation bloc of lawmakers for landmark rules called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which could force Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft to change key business practices in Europe.
“We have an agreement on DSA, which will ensure that what is illegal offline is also seen and treated as illegal online – not as a slogan, but as fact,” Vestager said in a Twitter post.
EU lawmaker Dita Sharanzova, who called for such rules eight years ago, welcomed the agreement. “Google, Meta and other major internet platforms will have to work to better protect their users. Europe has made it clear that it cannot act as independent digital islands,” it said in a statement.
“As the law is completed and implemented, the details will be important,” Google said in a statement. “We look forward to working with authorities to resolve the remaining technical details and ensure the law works for everyone.”
Under the DSA, companies face fines of up to 6% of their global sales for breaching the rules, while repeated violations can prevent them from doing business in the EU.
The new rules ban advertising directed at children or based on sensitive data such as religion, gender, race and political opinions. Tactics that trick people into providing personal data to online businesses will also be banned.
Very large Internet platforms and Internet search engines will have to take specific measures during the crisis. This action came due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and related misinformation.
Companies may have to hand over data about their algorithms to regulators and researchers.
Platforms will also be required to pay an annual fee of up to 0.05% of annual revenue worldwide to cover compliance monitoring costs.
The DSA will be implemented in 2024.
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